West Cumbrian meningitis tot is a miracle
Last updated at 21:09, Thursday, 05 May 2011
The family of a baby who lost her legs and an arm to meningitis have started fund-raising to give her the best possible start in life.
Lillie-Mai Jackson, now six months old, was a normal, happy baby from Maryport until she was struck down with meningococcal septicaemia.
She spent four months in hospital and her parents were told several times she had only hours to live.
She suffered cardiac arrest and, when doctors could find no signs of brain activity, it was suggested to her parents Belinda Little, 22, and Rupert Jackson, 31, that she was clinically dead and a decision should be made to stop treating her.
The couple, of Hillside, maintained a constant vigil at the baby’s bedside and miraculously Lillie pulled through.
Rupert said: “We never gave up hope.”
Lillie was born on October 7 and had a normal infancy until, at the age of 14 weeks, she woke up at 4am and her parents noticed she was shivery, pale and lethargic.
Belinda said: “We thought she was getting a cold. We settled her back and she went to sleep.
“She was still asleep at 9am. I took her to my mum and we got a bottle into her. Mum suggested I take her out in the pram for a bit of fresh air.
“When I went out I noticed a bit of a rash on her face. I can’t tell you how quickly it spread all over her body.
“She was black. We called the ambulance straight away.”
Lillie was taken to the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, where staff told the shocked couple that their baby had meningitis and warned them that she was unlikely to recover.
An ambulance was sent from Newcastle but by the time the specialist paediatric team arrived at Whitehaven, they did not think they would be able to move Lillie because she was so ill.
Eventually, they were able to transfer the life support machines to the ambulance but Rupert and Belinda were told she was unlikely to survive the journey.
After the cardiac arrest they were told it was unlikely that Lillie would survive more than two hours and were warned that if she did live she would be brain damaged.
Rupert, who started a new job the day before Lillie went into hospital but has not returned due to spending every day by his daughter’s bedside with Belinda, added: “I noticed that every time someone closed the door and it banged there would be a small response.
“It wasn’t much but I could see her reacting.
“I just kept thinking that must mean there was some brain function.”
Lillie, who Rupert and Belinda call their “miracle,” recovered against the odds and the couple said there appears to be no brain damage.
She has already had 11 operations, including amputation of her legs and her left arm. She has had painful skin grafts and faces more surgery.
She is being given painkillers and antihistamines and the family are investigating prosthetic legs for Lillie. Because her legs were amputated above the knee, she will need bionic legs with flexible knees.
Rupert said: “We don’t know all the details yet but we have been told they cost about £20,000 and she will need new ones every year until she stops growing.”
Lillie’s grandmother, Margaret, is already planning charity events and the couple said they were extremely grateful to the Maryport community who had started fund-raising even when she was still in hospital.
An account for Lillie has been set up at the Cumberland Building Society and donations to the Lillie-Mai Jackson account can be left at any branch.
First published at 19:25, Thursday, 05 May 2011
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
i will definately give some money to the family i am glad she is doing well and feeling much better
so glad to hear lillie-mai is ok now ,she looks just like you did when you were her age ,take care of her and yourself .xx
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